8/1/2014 11:10 P.M. ET
Cubs fill roster spots with pair of prospects
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Cubs filled the vacancies created by the trade of James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio, adding Chris Valaika and Blake Parker from Triple-A Iowa.
Left-hander Felix Doubront, acquired in a trade with the Red Sox on Wednesday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain, which allowed the Cubs to recall Parker.
The Cubs selected the contract of Valaika from Iowa. A non-roster invitee this spring, Valaika, 28, played in the Major Leagues last season with the Marlins, batting .219 in 22 games. In 102 games at Iowa, he was batting .278 with 10 home runs, 21 doubles, and 50 RBIs. He has played every position except catcher this season with the Minor League team.
Parker, 29, has pitched in seven games with the Cubs in his previous stints, and given up six earned runs over 9 2/3 innings. He has 21 saves at Iowa. The right-hander was optioned to the Minor League team on Wednesday, but was able to return because of the injury to Doubront.
Russell and Bonifacio were dealt Thursday to the Braves for Minor League catching prospect Victor Caratini.
Valaika gets callup just in time to play in hometown
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Valaika grew up about 20 minutes from Dodger Stadium, but has never played at the ballpark. On Friday, he got to walk on the field for the first time, and felt just like a kid again.
"It couldn't happen any better to have a nice homecoming, coming to L.A. like this," Valika said. "You can't make that up."
Valaika was selected by the Cubs from Triple-A Iowa and added to the roster Friday to take Emilio Bonifacio's spot on the roster after the infielder was traded to the Braves. Valaika was in Iowa's lineup Thursday, then scratched, but didn't know about the callup until manager Marty Pevey talked to him after the game.
This isn't Valaika's first call to the big leagues -- he played for the Reds briefly in 2010-11, and also for the Marlins last year. But now he's on the Cubs, which is his father's favorite team, and he's at Dodger Stadium, where he watched games as a kid.
"I grew up a Cubs fan -- my dad's from Chicago," Valaika said. "I watched a lot of games here. ... I walked out early just to take a look and see it from that angle."
Manager Rick Renteria said he'll use Valaika everywhere in the lineup to give guys a breather. At Iowa, Valaika played first, second, third, shortstop, and left field. He'd probably catch if asked.
"That's the role I've come into is that utility role," he said. "I showed the coaching staff here that they could trust me at all the positions in the infield and the versatility has given me the opportunity today."
He had never played outfield until this season, and had to add an outfielder's glove.
"My role is all over the place," Valaika said. "You show up at the park never knowing where you're going to be."
Doubront hopes for fresh start in Chicago
LOS ANGELES -- Felix Doubront joined the Cubs on Friday at Dodger Stadium and predicted he'll be starting in two weeks. However, it may not be that quick.
The left-hander, who the Cubs acquired from the Red Sox on Wednesday, was added to the 25-man roster, and then placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain.
Doubront said his leg has bothered him for a couple weeks and it's been slow to heal. The plan now is to get him healthy, and then decide the next step, Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.
The lefty, who made it clear with the Red Sox that he wanted to start, said he wasn't surprised to be traded, but never asked to be dealt.
"For the moment, I was surprised a little bit," Doubront said. "I said, 'It's a new beginning and a new journey here.' I'm happy to be here and be part of this team and be a starter is most important for me.
"I never said, 'Trade me,'" Doubront said. "I just want to start."
In 10 starts with the Red Sox this year, Doubront was 2-4 with a 5.19 ERA, giving up 29 earned runs over 50 1/3 innings. As a reliever, he has served up 11 earned runs over nine innings in seven games, with six of those runs coming in his last outing Monday against the Blue Jays.
There were reports after the game against Toronto that Doubront was "disinterested." He said that's not true.
"It was a bad day, a bad day for me," Doubront said. "I didn't go there to give up six runs. Nobody wants to do that."
Coming to the Cubs will give Doubront a fresh start. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein knows the lefty from their days together in Boston.
"I talked to Theo, and I'm going to do my job here," Doubront said. "They expect me to go out and do my job, and that's what I want to do. It's not going to take too long to be competitive again.
"I'm going to start a new journey right here," he said.
Baez still developing in Triple-A, Renteria says
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Valaika, added to the Cubs' 25-man roster on Friday, knows how good the Triple-A Iowa team is.
"That's a special lineup," Valaika said of the 3-4-5 combo of Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler. "There's a lot of good things coming. Javy has really turned it around and he's killing it down there and Soler getting healthy, he's polished. ... It's a professional lineup."
But they're not ready to join the big league team yet. Valaika was added to take Emilio Bonifacio's spot on the roster. Baez has been playing a lot of second base as well as short.
"He's done a great job," Valaika said of Baez. "I think that transition is really smooth. I think the more he does it, he'll keep getting better and better. That transition has been pretty seamless."
Manager Rick Renteria knows Cubs fans want to see Baez, 21, join the big league team. It's not time yet.
"Like most players, you want to make sure everybody from the developmental standpoint, everybody from the front office, everybody who has their eyes and hands on him feel comfortable with any decision that ultimately puts him in a different place other than Iowa," Renteria said. "There's no hurry, there's not any pressure to do anything right now. When the move is made with him, whenever that is, it'll be because everybody has drawn a clear consensus that the action is right for him and for us."
Baez was batting .259 with 21 home runs, 24 doubles, two triples and 78 RBIs in 101 games, but in July, he hit .300 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 29 games. He's second in the Pacific Coast League in RBIs, tied for second in extra-base hits (47), and tied for fourth in home runs.
"Everybody will debate when it's appropriate for him to be here, and how he can gain or use this time right now to garner experience," Renteria said. "I think, quite frankly, we still have to allow him to continue to develop some things down there, continue to play, continue to build his confidence.
"He's doing much better," Renteria said. "Once we as an organization feel comfortable with any movement that's made with him, I'm sure he'll make it."
• Kyuji Fujikawa is getting close to the end of his Minor League rehab assignment, and the right-hander could join the Cubs next week. Fujikawa has given up one earned run over six innings in six games at Triple-A Iowa, including one inning on Friday against New Orleans.
"He still seems to be coming out of it healthy and we'll continue to monitor and see how he progresses and see how he'll do," Renteria said.
• Victor Caratini, whom the Cubs acquired from the Braves for James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio, has joined Class A Kane County. Caratini, 20, was batting .279 at Class A Rome.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.